Hi! Welcome to the Follow the Rainbow Blog Hop! Before I answer the essay question posed by the hop organizers, just in case you don’t already know I’m going to tell you about the other important stuff—prizes! The hop is the brainchild of Rainbow Book Reviews, and they’re set to give away four $25 book gift certificates, good at Amazon or All Romance. Nice, huh? To be eligible for one of those prizes, follow this link and comment: Rainbow Book Reviews Follow the Rainbow Blog Hop. But that’s not all! Your comment there also puts you in the running for prizes from a whole long list of participating publishers—Dreamspinner, Bold Strokes, Silver, Torquere, Untreed Reads, Riptide, Amber Allure, Less than Three. (I think I got them all).
On top of all that, if you comment here, I’ll put your name in the hat for my own drawing, prize is an ebook of Yes: A Vasquez and James Novella (the latest release in the series). (If you already have Yes, we may be able to work a deal for one of the other Vasquez and James books.
Okay, now down to the Blog Hop Question. The instructions tell me to write about what writing GLBTQ means to me. Um. Well. As a bi woman who has lived much of her life as a lesbian, you would think I would say it gives me a chance to create lesbian role models and beautiful lesbian relationships. However, I have in recent times only written M/M romance. So I’m going to cheat a bit and write about “why” I write M/M romance. Of course the short answer is because I love to write and this is what I’m loving to write right now—probably will be for a good long while, if the multiplying ideas and plot bunnies are any indication. So, other than sheer love of the act, why do I write M/M romance?
Why is always a trick question, I think. So often, as soon as I say, “this is why I did it,” I realize there’s a thousand other answers equally true. Nevertheless, here’s the answer:
I find it unavoidable.
No bull, this is true—for me, for right now I cannot not write this stuff.
This situation of inevitable M/M romance production started when I was writing a YA fantasy, a book meant for the young end of that readership spectrum. The book had no romance (I don’t believe the average 12 y/o boy wants to read romance of any kind) although I did have an idea that romances might flourish in later installments in the series. One night, while I slept and the characters talked quietly amongst themselves in their word document, a couple of really, really fine adult male characters (both of whom I was secretly in love with) fell in love with each other. They were so hot for each other strange things happened, and they became tongue-tied when they met up. One of these guys was a tall Native American (like Sonny James) firefighter from northern California (not like Sonny James) who also happened to be a shape shifter—his alter ego being a California Condor. The other guy was a very self-possessed ultimate warrior with a limited talent for reading minds—sometimes for some reasons. (Oh yeah, also he’s 200 years old, from another world, and works for the Premier Wizard.)
When those two fell in love I was virtually paralyzed as far as writing the book I’d meant to write. I had to stop working on the book, scratch out a quick, hot love story for the guys, promise I’d see them later, and then finally get back to my YA Fantasy. But I had never heard of M/M romance as a genre, and I’d never heard of publishers that not only accepted but solicited such stories.
At the time, I wrote short stories with some regularity, and published them in small markets. I wrote two blatantly M/M stories, one a humorous romance, and one an angsty romance. I wrote another humorous story in which the protag is gay, but that wasn’t the central theme of the story, and there was no romance. Finally I wrote a dark paranormal pseudo-historical fantasy (I know, too many adjectives) that I can best describe as murder/romance, very creepy but one of my faves. All that time, I still didn’t know I wanted to write M/M romance.
But then I did know.
Loving Luki Vasquez is a direct descendant of that original pair of demanding lovers that were born (in full, rampant, sexual heat) in the manuscript of that YA fantasy—maybe a couple of generations removed. It almost wrote itself—at least in the sex scenes—and I started looking for a place to submit. When I ran across Dreamspinner, I almost thought, “No, that’s too good to be true!” Once I had that novel submitted and accepted, I realized that Luki and Sonny had more stories. I also realized that, while they don’t think of me as their slave, I am an indentured servant. I hope I can buy my way out soon.
Ah, but if I do… I have other gay men standing around making romantic and or sexual overtures toward each other, keeping each other occupied by making up stories together that I will then be forced to write. Forced to write because the stories are compelling, because the love and pain the characters endure are not so much gay as human, because passion and heartbreak and sickness and health and friends and children and parents and pets and—deep breath—are no different for gay men and their loved ones than they are for anyone else.
So that’s why I write M/M Romance. That’s what it means to me. Good thing I enjoy it!
(See my free fiction page for some of the stories I mentioned above, if you are interested.)